Is poorly managed pain and inflammation slowing you down
and impairing your quality of life? The feeling of pain is your
body’s way of telling you that there is inflammation present.
Inflammation is associated with the classic symptoms of pain,
redness, heat and swelling. It frequently accompanies injury
and tissue trauma, such as sprains, strains, cuts, bites and
stings. However, what you may not realise, is that inflammation
can be a contributing factor to many health conditions and is
a key component in the joint pain of arthritis, back pain and
muscular aches, digestive disorders such inflammatory bowel
disease, period pain, and many types of headaches.
The Firelighters Within
The term inflammation comes from the Latin word,
‘Inflammatio’ which means to set on fire. Inflammation is like
a small biological fire designed to ‘burn away’ harmful stimuli
such as pathogens, allergens, injury or other irritants. It is a
protective mechanism designed to remove these causative
factors and initiate the healing response. Inflammation can
also be the result of diet, lifestyle factors and stress which can
ignite, and keep this fire burning.
Inflammation Inside and Out
Inflammation can be easily identified when there are external
signs of pain from arthritis, or joint and muscle injuries.
However, inflammation can be occurring inside the body even
when the warning signs are less obvious. For example, did you
realise that obesity is an inflammatory state? Many digestive
disorders such as food intolerances, irritable bowel disease,
and coeliac disease are inflammatory conditions.
Putting Out the Body’s Fire
For optimal health, it is important to dampen down the
inflammatory response and put out this fire. Pharmaceutical
anti-inflammatories are commonly used to help relieve pain
and inflammation, however many of these carry risks such as
causing damage to your digestive tract. Fortunately there are
some safe and effective natural anti-inflammatory and pain
relief solutions available:
• Turmeric – This Ayurvedic herb has been used traditionally for
the treatment of traumatic injury, and to reduce swelling and
pain in arthritic conditions.
• Boswellia – Has analgesic, anti-rheumatic and anti-
inflammatory actions, as well as being effective for arthritis
and traumatic pain, it may also assist with inflammatory
conditions of the lungs, gastrointestinal tract and skin.
• Omega 3 essential fatty acids from fish oil containing EPA and
DHA, may reduce acute and chronic pain and inflammation.
Food Can Produce or Reduce Inflammation
The typical Western diet may actually promote inflammation;
high amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates break
down quickly into glucose and have been shown to induce
inflammatory changes that are linked with many chronic
diseases. In some susceptible people, foods such as
dairy products and gluten-containing grains can trigger
an inflammatory response within the digestive tract and
throughout the body.
- Foods that decrease inflammation:Fresh fruits and vegetables, good fats from fish, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, organic foods where possible, eat mostly wholefoods
- Foods that increase inflammation: High intake of sugar and processed foods, trans and saturated fats, artificial flavours, coloursand preservatives, excess coffee and alcohol, allergenic foods – dairy, wheat and gluten
Simple Tips to Reduce Inflammation
As well as taking the right herbs and nutrients, there are simple
diet and lifestyle changes that you can make that can help to
reduce your inflammatory load:
1. Eat a diet plentiful in fresh fruit, a variety of vegetables and good fats from fish and nuts.
2. Minimise your intake of refined carbohydrates such as white
bread, pasta, white rice, cereals.
3. Minimise your intake of red meat and opt instead for fish,
chicken or vegetarian protein sources such as chickpeas or tofu.
4. Reduce your intake of alcohol, coffee, sugar and salt.
5. Avoid foods you may be reactive to, such as wheat and dairy
6. Quit smoking.
The End to Inflammation
Don’t let pain and inflammation reduce your quality of life!
Talk to your Practitioner today about safe and effective natural
medicines and simple dietary and lifestyle measures to reduce
pain, and address the underlying causes of inflammation.